News Article | October 3, 2016
Founded in 1950 by the International Academy of Astronautics and the International Astronautical Federation, each year the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) brings together the biggest players in the space world for a week of discussions bearing on humanity's future in the final frontier. The 67th IAC wrapped up on Friday in Guadalajara, Mexico and saw attendance from the heads of all the major national space agencies, industry titans like SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Lockheed Martin Space Systems VP Wanda Sigur, space celebrities like Buzz Aldrin and Bill Nye, as well as hundreds of space enthusiasts and journalists from around the world. The theme of this year's IAC was "Making space accessible and affordable to all countries," which was fitting considering that the host country only launched its own space agency in 2010. The question, of course, is how to make space accessible to all when of the 70 national space agencies in existence, only 13 have launch capabilities and only three are able to put humans into space. It's a lofty goal, but then again, space programs have never been known for thinking small. Walking around the floor of the main IAC exhibition however, it was hard to shake the feeling that the congress was more focused on selling space access to non-spacefaring nations than simply making it accessible. As with anything under late capitalism, you can do whatever you want, as long as you have the cash. This feeling was reinforced during many of the larger presentations, particularly Elon Musk's keynote speech and Lockheed Martin's presentation on Mars Base Camp, both of which felt like a big sales pitch to NASA. The notable exception to this trend was the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs' announcement of its partnership with Sierra Nevada Corporation to launch the first UN space mission in 2021. This mission will place priority on placing experiments in orbit which were developed by countries which can't afford their own national space programs. These experiments will be funded in part by the countries themselves and public-private partnerships with national space agencies and corporate space actors. Thankfully, not all of the IAC was focused on selling space to those who aren't already there. The real value of the IAC is found in the hundreds of technical presentations given by scientists and space policy experts from around the globe. These technical presentations occur in a handful of small rooms tucked away from the main IAC events and usually don't attract more than 30 people to any one session. Here, cutting edge space science and policy is discussed in an open and accessible manner. Based on what was discussed during these sessions, here are some major trends to watch out for in the future of space exploration—without the sales pitch: One of the biggest tricks in colonizing space is figuring out how to get the resources necessary for this venture into orbit. Right now, the cost of launching stuff into space is about $10,000 per pound. Although both NASA and SpaceX are looking at ways to lower this cost to something more reasonable (like $1000 per pound or even $100 per pound), others are looking at ways to get material resources in space itself. This will likely begin with harvesting water from asteroids and Mars, which will be used for sustaining crewed missions as well as powering interplanetary spacecraft. Peter Swan of the International Space Elevator Consortium went so far as to label water as the likely default currency in space, at least until more robust economies are developed in orbit. Yet as Alyssa Picard of the Science and Technology Institute pointed out, most of the space mining efforts around today are being developed by private companies and will require the development of a robust legal framework for commercial activities in space led by national and international stakeholders. Aside from the national space agencies booths at the IAC, the exhibition floor was dominated by commercial CubeSat companies from around the world. Although CubeSats were first formally defined in 1999 as small satellites weighing no more than 1.33 kilograms, it wasn't until recent years that they've really began taking the space industry by storm. These CubeSats can be deployed for a number of purposes, such as scientific missions or Earth observation, although CubeSats are increasingly being explored as potential vehicles for deep space exploration. This year at the IAC, the focus was on how to make CubeSats more affordable, which included proposals for dedicated CubeSat launch vehicles. One of the most pressing challenges for the future of CubeSats in space will be figuring out how to get them back from orbit once their mission is over to prevent further cluttering Low Earth Orbit, which is quickly beginning to resemble a garbage dump. As mentioned above, Low Earth Orbit is quickly becoming a dangerous place. With over 500,000 pieces of known and tracked orbital debris—even the smallest of which can destroy a satellite or put crewed missions in danger—figuring out how to remove this debris and ensure a sustainable orbital future is paramount for the space sector. A number of methods of removing space debris were discussed at the conference, although one of the most novel was a detumbler—this method would deploy CubeSats that would attach to tumbling space debris, reduce the tumbling motion before sending the space junk to a disposal orbit at about 50 kilometers up. Other methods included using tether nets to catch and dispose of debris, as well as using concentrated sunlight to push space debris out of orbit. As more commercial and national actors make their debut in space, we're quickly generating far more data than we can handle. This brings up a number of pressing questions regarding how this data is generated, how to create standards that make sure this data can be used by multiple actors, who has ownership over this data, and what, exactly, we should do with all this data. As the orbital environment becomes increasingly crowded, taking advantage of this massive amount of data will become paramount, to ensure that we are not only deriving the maximum benefit from space missions, but also to ensure the safe deployment of these missions. Although many of these questions still lack anything close to a satisfactory answer, the space sector is definitely taking notice, and some, like the ESA, have begun to arrange conferences dedicated to the challenge of Big Data in Space. Although Elon Musk's plans to turn humans into an interplanetary species and Lockheed Martin's plans to develop a crewed Martian space station stole the show at this year's IAC, there are a number of other plans in the work to make sure humans continue to have a presence in space. With the ISS set to be decommissioned in 2024 and most Mars plans slated for sometime around 2030, this would seem to leave a substantial gap in human orbital presence. Luckily, China will be launching humans to their own national space station, the Tiangong-2, later this month and the country is expected to continue to keep a human presence in space for the foreseeable future. Indeed, China held a special session on how it plans to open its crewed space programs up to international cooperation in the future. Aside from China's space ambitions, there will be other opportunities for crewed exploration in the coming decades. One of the most exciting plans is for an international lunar village, a program pioneered by the European Space Agency. Yet before this can happen a number of technical details need to be worked out, namely communications infrastructure and where the lunar village will actually be located. In addition to lunar villages, space tourism was another hot topic of discussion at IAC this year. Virgin Galactic outlined their revamped research on SpaceShipTwo and made affordable space tourism feel closer than ever. And what would space exploration be without aliens? Unfortunately, the SETI technical sessions were the smallest of the conference, but this didn't mean they were lacking in big projects. One of the most exciting was the Breakthrough StarShot, the plan to send a small chip about the size of an SD card to another star by bombarding it with a huge array of lasers. The SETI group also discussed how social media has changed post-detection protocols. Currently, the IAA has a procedure about what to do in the event that we are contacted by aliens, but this protocol was designed far before the advent of social media. Now that much SETI research is crowd-sourced through projects like SETI@Home and a tweet can be read around the world within seconds, would SETI researchers be able to stave off global hysteria after contact long enough to verify the legitimacy of the signal?
The ASM International Board of Trustees announces the appointment of William T. (Bill) Mahoney as Managing Director effective immediately. The appointment follows an extensive search led by the Board-appointed Executive Search Committee with the assistance of Dise & Co. Mahoney's appointment is effective immediately. Mahoney is formerly the CEO of the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA). He held this post from August 2005 to March 2016. SCRA is a non-stock, tax-exempt applied R&D corporation, which operates under a public charter from the state of South Carolina, but is economically self-sufficient due to its business operations, and receives no state funding. Under Mahoney's leadership, SCRA annual revenues from its applied research and commercialization services operations have grown from $74M to over $455M. In this same timeframe, SCRA annual year-end backlog grew from $93M to $1091M, annual net revenues have set company records of up to 7.9%, and total contract value under management grew from $235M to over $5.2B. SCRA's financial growth has paralleled its advancing reputation within defense, security, advanced materials, and energy and sustainability market segments as a dynamic, research-based business, uniquely able to rapidly and cost-effectively apply innovative technologies to important government and corporate problem sets. In its vertical markets, SCRA today competes effectively against established entities such as Battelle, SAIC, IBM, CTC, Mitre Corp, and others. Mahoney holds a TS clearance, which was a condition of employment at SCRA. During his tenure, SCRA received national and international best practices recognition from the defense industry for its Navy Centers of Excellence, and from the State Science and Technology Institute, Southern Growth Policies Conference, International Economic Development Council, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Forbes Magazine for its SC Launch seed capital and support services programs. In 2008, Mahoney was named by Tech Journal South magazine as one of the top 25 technology leaders in the southeastern United States. In 2010, SCRA's Applied R&D Sector was chosen by The Wall Street Journal as one of America's Top 15 Winning Workplaces. SCRA was recognized as Non-Profit Corporation of the Year 2011 by the American Business Congress' "Stevie" Awards, and the same group chose Bill as Non-Profit Executive of the Year in 2012. Mahoney's peers from other industry segments in this 2012 Executive of the Year selection included Allen Mulally of Ford, and John Lundgren of Stanley Black and Decker. In 2013 and 2014, SCRA was awarded multiple "Stevie's" for national leadership in technology innovation and corporate responsibility programs. SCRA invests the net revenues of its applied R&D contracts to effect its public mission, which is the development of the knowledge economy in South Carolina. Since 2006, SCRA investment programs, including R&D infrastructure, startup equity investments, SBIR matches, grants, subcontracts, and sponsorships, have generated and deployed over $380M in cash into the SC knowledge economy. Over $100M of that investment has supported commercialization of university research and technologies. Private add-on investment of over $400M in equity capital has followed SCRA placements, and SCRA has supported or assisted over 700 SC Corporations, ranging from BMW down to over 320 early stage startups. All of these decade-long achievements have occurred without any annual state appropriations. During the roughly 30 years prior to coming to SCRA, Mahoney led companies small and large, which commercialized ″first-of-a-kind″ solutions in telecommunications, electronic publishing, automatic remote monitoring and other emerging applied systems markets, leading directly to IPO's or strategic acquisitions. Among these companies was SCT Utility Systems, of Columbia, SC. Between 1995 and 2000, SCT grew from startup to $175M annual revenues, prior to its sale to Indus International (now Ventyx Corp). SCT′s installed base of customer information systems for energy, utility, and communications companies is still one of the largest of its kind in the world. Mahoney held a non-voting seat as secretary of the SCRA Board, and also served as the chairman of SCRA's wholly-owned applied R&D affiliate, Advanced Technology International Inc. He currently serves on outside corporate boards as chairman of SCRA-invested tech startups STEM Premier and Carbon Conversions Inc. He also serves on national Boards with the National Defense Industrial Association, the National Energy Marketers Association and the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association. On a state and local level, he serves or has served on the boards of the SC Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance, Midland Technical College Foundation, and SC Economics. Mahoney is a Harvard graduate and former member of both the Harvard Crew and the U.S. National Rowing Team. He and his wife, Paula, have been married for 37 years and have two adult sons, one a U.S. Navy officer and one a professional baseball player.
PubMed | Science and Technology Institute and University of Sao Paulo
Type: | Journal: The Science of the total environment | Year: 2015
The effects of air pollution on health are associated with the amount of pollutants inhaled which depends on the environmental concentration and the inhaled air volume. It has not been clear whether statistical models of the relationship between heart rate and ventilation obtained using laboratory cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) can be applied to an external group to estimate ventilation.To develop and evaluate a model to estimate respiratory ventilation based on heart rate for inhaled load of pollutant assessment in field studies.Sixty non-smoking men; 43 public street workers (public street group) and 17 employees of the Forest Institute (park group) performed a maximum cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET). Regression equation models were constructed with the heart rate and natural logarithmic of minute ventilation data obtained on CPET. Ten individuals were chosen randomly (public street group) and were used for external validation of the models (test group). All subjects also underwent heart rate register, and particulate matter (PM2.5) monitoring for a 24-hour period.For the public street group, the median difference between estimated and observed data was 0.5 (CI 95% -0.2 to 1.4) l/min and for the park group was 0.2 (CI 95% -0.2 to 1.2) l/min. In the test group, estimated values were smaller than the ones observed in the CPET, with a median difference of -2.4 (CI 95% -4.2 to -1.8) l/min. The mixed model estimated values suggest that this model is suitable for situations in which heart rate is around 120-140bpm.The mixed effect model is suitable for ventilation estimate, with good accuracy when applied to homogeneous groups, suggesting that, in this case, the model could be used in field studies to estimate ventilation. A small but significant difference in the median of external validation estimates was observed, suggesting that the applicability of the model to external groups needs further evaluation.
News Article | September 13, 2016
Light pollution prevents a third of humanity from seeing the night sky. LED lighting is about to make the problem worse. Back in 1994, the Northridge Earthquake caused major blackouts in the Los Angeles area. During the hours of darkness, something strange happened. People began to call 911 to report a strange ethereal light in the sky. What they were actually seeing was the Milky Way. Light pollution was so bad in the City of Angels that many people had never seen our galaxy. And that raises an interesting question. Just how bad has light pollution become in the years since then, and how is it set to change? Today we get an answer thanks to the work of Fabio Falchi at the Light Pollution Science and Technology Institute in Thiene, Italy, and a few pals, who have measured light pollution levels across the globe in unprecedented detail. These guys report that the luminous fog that began to fill the atmosphere during the Industrial Revolution has never been thicker, and that most people in Europe and America cannot see the night sky clearly. Their method makes use of a polar orbiting satellite called the Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership satellite, a weather satellite operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It orbits the globe from pole to pole once every 24 hours and so peers down on every part of the planet as it rotates beneath. In this way it can build up a composite image over time to allow for cloud cover and changes in artificial lighting on the surface. The new data was gathered over six months in 2014. Falchi and co then crunched this data to produce a new generation of maps of light pollution. The results make for impressive viewing. Falchi and co have created an atlas of light pollution for the entire planet that reveals how bad the problem has become. “We found that about 83% of the world’s population and more than 99% of the U.S. and European populations live under light-polluted skies,” they say. One measure of the severity of the problem is whether people can see the Milky Way. By this reckoning, the problem is severe. “Due to light pollution, the Milky Way is not visible to more than one-third of humanity, including 60% of Europeans and nearly 80% of North Americans,” say Falchi and co. Not everywhere is drowning in light, though. The team say the countries with the populations least affected by light pollution are Chad, Central African Republic, and Madagascar, with more than three-quarters of inhabitants living under pristine sky conditions. Others are not so lucky. The worst affected country is Singapore, where the entire population lives under skies so bright that their eyes cannot fully dark-adapt to night vision. Here the night never gets darker than early twilight. And the problem is set to get worse as many countries switch from high pressure sodium lighting to white light LEDs, which are much more energy-efficient. The problem with these LEDs is that they generate light across a much broader part of the spectrum visible to the human eye. Falchi and co say they are 2.5 times more light-polluting. Another problem is brewing because the sensors on the Suomi satellite are unable to pick up light in the blue part of the spectrum, and so will not register it in future measurements of light pollution. Nevertheless, there is hope. Various places have begun to enact light-pollution legislation to prevent further damage to the night sky—for example, Lombardia and most other Italian regions, Slovenia, two regions in Chile, and part of the Canary Islands. Such legislation is hugely important for astronomers but it has other consequences, too. Not least is the cultural importance of seeing the night sky and understanding Earth’s place within it. Falchi and co imagine two future scenarios. “Perhaps the current generation will be the final generation to experience such a light-polluted world, as light pollution is successfully controlled,” they say. “Alternatively, perhaps the world will continue to brighten, with nearly the entire population never experiencing a view of the stars, as in Isaac Asimov’s Nightfall novel and short story.” The prospect of people so scared by the pristine night sky that they call the police is a sad one that is already a reality. Let’s hope the former scenario comes to fruition. If nothing else it will significantly increase the beauty of the night sky for all. Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1609.01041: The New World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness
PubMed | Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences, Science and Technology Institute, Pasteur Institute of Iran and 2 more.
Type: | Journal: Diagnostic pathology | Year: 2015
Gout is a metabolic disorder that results in hyperuricemia and the deposition of positively birefringent monosodium urate crystals in various parts of the body. The purpose of this study was to characterize the incidence and diagnostic features of visceral gout found at necropsy in two patients.The authors present an unusual report of untreated gout leading to major structure destructions in visceral organs. Gross post-mortem examination revealed a white powdery substance and display needle-like crystalline symmetry under the macroscopic on the visceral surfaces. Microscopically, the presence of crystalline deposits (urate tophi) were detected in visceral organs, such as; kidney, liver, lung and mesentery. Irrespective of its location, gout was observed, by H&E, as intracellular and extracellular eosinophilic deposits that compressed surrounding tissues. Moreover, numerous necrotizing granulomas of multifarious sizes were observed that were compounded by large aggregations of eosinophilic material (gout), surrounded by epithelioid macrophages, lymphoplasmacytic cells, foreign body multinucleated giant cells, fibrosis, fibroplasia and few edema. On the other hand, our results revealed that granulomatous nodules in the mesentery and kidney contained large numbers of gout foci compared with lung and liver. Furthermore, the immediate cause of death in these cases were not identified, but appeared to result from multiple factors, including the visceral gout due to unsuitable environmental conditions.In summary, we have identified a valid histopathologic damage index for use in laboratory studies of visceral gout. This system provides a feasible method of representing visceral damage in gout, and may allow for better understanding of the natural history, pathophysiology and the management of acute attacks of gouty visceral in this disease. Finally, to the best of our knowledge, understanding of the distribution of monosodium urate crystals within the body can aid clinical diagnosis and further understanding of the resulting pathology.The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: http://www.diagnosticpathology.diagnomx.eu/vs/1293547351151638 .
PubMed | Science and Technology Institute, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran University of Medical Sciences and Pasteur Institute of Iran
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Jundishapur journal of microbiology | Year: 2015
Staphylococcus aureus is one of the most important microorganisms that causes various human diseases by secreting virulence factors known as staphylococcal super antigens (SAgs). Staphylococcal Enterotoxin B (SEB) is a bacterial antigen that is responsible for food poisoning in humans. Among SEB detection methods, a lateral flow device (LFD) is ideal for rapid immunochromatographic tests because it is easy to use, requires minimal time to produce results, and does not require personnel training.In our laboratory, the production of an immunochromatographic test strip, for the detection of SEB using a sandwich assay and a competitive method, was described; the test can detect SEB with high sensitivity.The strip assays were compared with PCR, a valid method for detection. For PCR, a specific sequence for SEB production was detected using primers designed according to GenBank sequences.In total, 80 food samples suspected of SEB contamination were assessed using the two methods. Fifty-four samples were contaminated based on the PCR technique and twenty-six of those were confirmed using the strip assay.The sensitivity of the sandwich method was approximately 10 ng/mL and that of the competitive method was approximately 250 ng/mL. In the LFD, a highly specific monoclonal antibody used for both the sandwich and competitive methods resulted in an increased sensitivity and accuracy for the detection of a minimal SEB concentration.
News Article | November 3, 2016
MANHATTAN, KANSAS -- For the second year in a row, a Kansas State University program is being nationally recognized for enhancing the region's economy. The university's Knowledge Based Economic Development, or KBED, partnership with the Manhattan community is receiving the Enhancing Prosperity Through Competitive Industries award from the State Science and Technology Institute. The national award, part of the institute's 2016 Excellence in Technology-Based Economic Development program, recognizes an entity that enhances economic prosperity by improving the competitiveness of a region's industries. It is the second time for a Kansas State University-sponsored program to receive an economic development award from the institute. The university's co-founded research and development company Technology Acceleration Partners, or TechAccel LLC, received the 2015 award for America's Most Promising Technology Based Economic Development Initiative. Rebecca Robinson, director of economic development for the Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization, accepted the KBED award on Nov. 2 at the State Science and Technology Institute annual conference in Columbus, Ohio. "For the university to have programs recognized two years in a row is a spectacular achievement," Robinson said. "The university's contribution to the area's economic development growth includes providing access to research, students and training. We also focus on the university's commitment to identifying faculty and staff whose expertise makes them good partners for prospective businesses." KBED was established in 2008 to align the Manhattan community's strategy for economic development in a way that capitalizes on the university's research strengths and the area's growth opportunities. It is a combined effort by the city, the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, Kansas State University, the Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization, the Kansas State University Research Foundation, the Kansas State University Foundation and the North Central Kansas Community Network. Since 2009, KBED has helped to attract or retain 16 companies in Manhattan. KBED estimates these companies have an economic impact of $32.5 million in the Manhattan area. The program has helped create 394 full-time jobs that generate $19.1 million in annual salaries. Additionally, KBED has helped university researchers to receive more than $700,000 in industry funds. "There is no doubt that KBED has positively influenced the economy of the Manhattan community," said Lyle Butler, president and CEO of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce. "By connecting businesses with the university, we have created a valuable network of resources for the community. KBED demonstrates the successes that can occur when the city, community and university work as partners." "The partnerships woven together with KBED's initiative have focused economic development in the Manhattan region in a very realistic and collaborative manner," said Dan Berglund, State Science and Technology Institute president and CEO. "It has successfully bridged town and gown, leveraging the university to grow businesses. Its results demonstrate it is a model for other communities on what a successful partnership looks like." The State Science and Technology Institute is the leading national organization dedicated to improving the economy through science and technology. The institute's annual conference attracts business leaders and entrepreneurs from across the world.